Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Boomsticks: Savage explosion.

Man whose rifle exploded files lawsuit.

News Flash: Sometimes planes fall out of the sky. Sometimes motorcycles fall over. Sometimes guns explode. If you want a completely safe hobby, pick one that doesn’t involve detonating explosives in your hands, like knitting.

(H/T to SayUncle.)

18 comments:

Paha Kani said...

Thank God he wasn't reloading his bullets:
If an individual "reloads" or makes their own bullets, they often stuff in too much powder, making the bullet too hot and too pressurized.

Sounds very dangerous to me, stuffing powder into bullets. And that happens often?

It should be banned.

TD said...

Not enough info to reach any conclusions, but my money's on either an obstructed bore or the wrong ammo. Said another way, operator error.

D.W. Drang said...

I'm guessin' he used the muzzle as the "down" end of a walking stick.
Can't wait to see CSI screw this one up! (I mostly watch to laugh at their ballistic mistakes...)

Anonymous said...

Knitting?

Google: "exploding knitting needles"

TD said...

Drang, I think an obstruction that far downbore would probably only result in a bulged or split barrel. It sounds like the action let go in this case.

Now that I've thought about it some more, I think an obstructed bore *could* be the cause, but it would have to be a MAJOR obstruction pretty close to the breech. More likely, the ammo is bad. Either a grossly defective factory round (relatively unlikely), a bad handload (much more likely, even though the article claims he was using factory ammo), or the wrong caliber ammo.

That last one is pretty interesting. I don't have dimensioned drawings handy to explore all the possibilities, but it's possible he somehow managed to light off a round of another .300 Magnum caliber in an Ultra Mag chamber. If that happened, the case would be almost completely unsupported and BAD things would happen to the action. Also, given the variety of .300 mag cartridges on the market these days, it would be pretty easy to pick the wrong one if you're not careful.

triticale said...

Actually, handloaded ammunition rarely causes problems. The references consistantly spell out cautions and procedures. Last blowup I read about involved a mislabeled container of powder (they do differ significantly) n a loading which would have been reasonable.

It should be noted that one reason for handloading is to produce milder loads. One recent issue of the handloading magazine spelled out how and why to produce what amounts to a .41 Special round for training use in a .41 Magnum.

I'd like to see a borescope view of the barrel to see if he got all the mud out of the lands before he brought it in.

Randy said...

He's already a proven idiot for using 300 Ultra Mag.

For a DEER!

Tam said...

" Actually, handloaded ammunition rarely causes problems."

That should read "carefully handloaded ammunition rarely causes problems.

I work at an indoor range. I see lots of ammunition fired every day.

Whenever there's a squib or a case failure out there on the range, 9 times out of 10, it was somebody shooting handloaded ammo. I know plenty of careful reloaders. I also know people too dumb to know which end of the spoon goes in their mouths who take up handloading anyway.

Matt G said...

I'm surprised that he didn't look to the ammo manufacturer, too.

If the rifle failed because of some kind of metal fatigue, then sure-- the rifle company should pay. That's TRUE defective products. Not the crap that they're trying to pull in California, saying that a firearm is defective if it doesn't have enough "safety devices" on it.

Anonymous said...

Tam, like you, I've worked behind the counter of a few retail gun shops and it never ceases to amaze me what some people can and will do.

My vote goes to the wrong powder theroy. The burn rates for the large volumn cases like the Ultra mags and Short mags is SUPER slow. Get a fast powder in there and KA-bOOM!!

By the way, you can get one of the other .300 mags to work in the bolt of an Ultra mag....they have the same case head diameter and the bullet may be supported by the neck portion of the chamber to a degree that you could close the bolt. If the trigger is pulled and the round goes off, all the gasses usually will be directed to the rifle magazine through the little gas holes in the bolt.

PS: don't try this at home..

TD said...

"If the trigger is pulled and the round goes off, all the gasses usually will be directed to the rifle magazine through the little gas holes in the bolt."

That's the theory, at least. I haven't studied the Savage action closely, but I believe it includes gas baffles behind the bolt head to protect the shooter. It's probably a much safer design than something like a Winchester Model 70, which has a strong likelihood of sending hot gas directly into your face if a case fails.

Looking at the article again, the gun exploded while he was in the field, which means he almost surely wasn't wearing eye protection (no hunter I know goes afield with safety glasses on). He got a bloody nose and some splinters in his face. He ain't blind and he ain't dead. He should probably be THANKING Savage instead of suing them.

Dr. StrangeGun said...

Hrmm... I wonder what the chances of a .300 win mag, .300 rsum, .30-06, etc. finding it's way into a box of factory ammo and not being noticed loading into the magazine is? We've run across mislabelled pistol ammo before...

B&N said...

"you can get one of the other .300 mags to work in the bolt of an Ultra mag"

Without having any reference in front of me, I can not be for certain, but I'd venture a guess and say that all but the Lazzaroni magnums will fit into the .300 RemUM chamber. It was one of their stated goals in the design of the damn thing to get as much case capacity as possible, through the use of the Jeffries case (cavernous).

I think the more popular commercial .30s will probably chamber, with the bolt head and extractor holding the cartridge in place, with plenty of room between the case and chamber wall. It may even be that the bullet doesn't meet the throat in some of these.

I wonder if .300WinMag will completely chamber in a .300RemUM chamber? Eeew.

Conservative Scalawag said...

I have had several savage arms. none of them exploded. All functioned very well. yeah, i think this guy put a hot load in and well boom.

TD said...

"...but I'd venture a guess and say that all but the Lazzaroni magnums will fit into the .300 RemUM chamber."

.30-378 Weatherby won't; it has a .416 Rigby-size case head. Also, the .300 Dakota's case head might be a *tiny* bit too big. But otherwise, you're probably right.

Justin said...

"Now that I've thought about it some more, I think an obstructed bore *could* be the cause, but it would have to be a MAJOR obstruction pretty close to the breech."

Like a squib, perhaps? No powder, primer pushes the bullet far enough down the bore to allow another round to be chambered.

The shooter, possibly ignorant of just what a squib is, chambers another round and *KABLOOIE!*

Gregg said...

I think td may be on to something when he mentions both the apparent injuries, and the lack of the ammunition company being named in this suit. I see the following as possible scenarios in no particular order :

1) Maroon, sorry victim, puts wrong round in chamber, forces action closed, gets face full of shrapnel

2) Some random anti-gun group , or individual, sets this up with either a handload or wrong round, makes sure the trigger person has minimal safety equipment. All fo this in order to do an end run around the recent firearm mfg protections act.

3) Maroon stumbles or falls somehow and fills his barrel with mud and/or water.

4) Maroon has a squib and without ensuring that the barrel is clear chambers and fires another round.

5) Son of maroon stuffs toy in barrel of dads rifle. Maroon fails to check, or clean, rifle prior to hunting.

6)Maroon forgets that he hid his wife's diamond x-mas present in the bore of his hunting rifle (see previous scenario).

7) Maroon did not maintain his rifle and the chamber rusted out since the last time he fired and did not clean it resulting in ...

8) Savage Arms made a lemon. (Frankly I see this as highly unlikely though remotely possible.)

mauser*girl said...

Of course, if he were to take up knitting, he might sue the knitting needle manufacturers for having sore fingertips from pushing the needles the wrong way....

And, of course, he might poke himself in the eye with a knitting needle and all that.

(Can you tell I've recently taken up knitting?)